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[IAC] Press release by Denis Halliday re: NYT Story

The following press release was issued by Denis Halliday, former UN
Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.  His charges about the Office of the
Iraq Programme in New York's weakness have been made by others as well,
who often compare it unfavourably to the UN's Baghdad staff.

Colin Rowat
Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 13:08:17 +0000 (GMT)
From: Rania Masri <>
Subject: [IAC] Press release by Denis Halliday re: NYT Story

=========Iraq Action Coalition ======== =======
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FROM Denis Halliday


    This morning, in welcoming the piece on the need to lift economic
sanctions on the people of Iraq by Douglas Jehl in the New York Times, the
former head of the United Nations humanitarian programme in Baghdad,
reacted angrily at the failure of the Office of the Iraq Programme in UN
Hqts New York to speak out. 

    He said that the Office headed by Benon Sevan, supported by a British
military intelligence officer and other senior staff, negative to Iraq
and, like Sevan himself, UN misfits now financed by Oil for Food using
Iraqi oil revenue, has consistently failed to correct the misinformation
coming out of Washington. Sevan's office, says halliday, is the one place
in UN Hqts with accurate information sent to them by the Coordinator in
Iraq supported by the UN agency representatives there including UNICEF,
WHO, WFP and FAO.  Contrary to State Department issuances, the Office of
Sevan knows full well that the government in Baghdad has no access to OiI
for Food monies. They know that there have been no reports from 150 UN
system observers throughout Iraq of food supplies being stolen or diverted
by Baghdad. The office can explain why there have been delays in
distribution by the Ministry of Health of some medicines - such as poor
quality unfit for human use, packages with missing components,
regferation/transporation inadequacies, poor inventory control despite WHO
assistance and even some overseas manufacturing problems. None of this is
being clarified by Sevan or John Mills his spokesman. 

    It is appalling that we have an Office financed by Iraq that is so
weak and disinterested to keeping things straight - in presenting both
sides of the story. This is an office without leadership, without vision
and without the kind of initiative that the UN Secrtetariat owes to its
member states. 

    To those better informed and who care, around this country and the
world, including many within the UN Secretariat, the mis-information
coming out of the State Department is criminal when you consider the
attempt to extend further economic sanctions, ongoing for over nine years,
on an innocent people, and millions of children unborn when Iraq invaded
Kuwait in 1990. Halliday has stated in France and elsewhere, that he
believes, as do many government, ngo and other thinking officials and
peoples around the world, that the deliberate maintenance of economic
sanctions by the member states of the Security Council constitutes
genocide. He says we have a catastrophe in which the member states - the
five permanent members of the UN Security Council - are undermining the
spirit and the word of the UN Charter itself and effectively rejecting the
basic rights contained in the Declaration of Human Rights. 

Hallidays feels it is a tradegy for the people of Iraq, being punished
because London and Washington cannot punish their former ally -President
Saddam Hussain. He also believes it is a tradegy for the United Nations
when it fails to stand up and address this breakdown of its own integrity
and credibility. 

  Denis J. Halliday,  former United Nations  ASG and currently visting
professor at Swarthmore College, PA

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